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Building the Nome

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  • Building the Nome

    Had some questions for you guys. What qualities in a city or region do you look for when deciding where to set your game? What aspects tend to speak to you when you imagine a group of Arisen operating in an area? How much does the history and setting inform the way you present your game versus how much of your own ideas get superimposed regardless of where the game begins? How do you decide on important locations in a city? How do you design the cults that operate in the area? What metric do you use to decide how big the local mummy population is and how many do you have awake at any given point?

  • #2
    The initial pick of a city for my games is normally decided by it being a city I have lived in or at least know relatively well that I want to bring other players to. I like to have a mental map and some level of familiarity before we start think I've only broken that rule twice, once when I invented a town from scratch for Demon and with my choice for my current Werewolf game. So the initial pick is mostly informed by personal experiences and just a general "this is a cool place I'd like to show off" feeling. That means that I tend to decide on the city I want to play in without too much attention given to the specific game line I'll be using, which I think is cool in that it can lead to some unusual combinations. From there I have to fit the game into the city, moreso than picking a city because it mirrors or fits the game in some way.

    For Mummy specifically, I think Guilds offer a great starting point for deciding on important locations. Obviously, grand monuments suit the Tef-Aabhi, but a similar process can be applied to any of the guilds. The Mesen-Nebu for example are drawn to any font of wealth or value, which naturally means you might want to take a look at your city's financial district, but also any area (rich or poor) that is integral to the area's economy. On top of that, certain key locations will always be of some interest to Arisen and their cults. Control of museums, art dealerships, import/export businesses, locations like airports and ports where valuable goods may pass through, archaeological digs, they're all places relics may turn up.

    Cults are generally based on a blend of the local culture and the personality of the Arisen leading them, with the relative influence of each being based on the cult's size. A small, personal cult of a dozen family members or close-knit associates is much more easily molded into something specific to the Arisen that birthed it than a multi-national corporation with employees numbering in the thousands. If I want a particularly zany, murderous cult fuelled heavily by Iremite mythology then it's a lot more likely that it be a small cult of fanatics. Once it grows beyond a small core group you really need to start marrying the cult's beliefs, practices, and purpose to the environment and culture of the people the cultists are being drawn from.

    Finally, the number of Arisen in a setting is tough. Any Nome smaller than a dozen will have the player Meret (assuming they all play Arisen, which is my preference) will have the players represent the most significant power bloc in the city, which isn't a bad thing but needs to be accounted for. It also reduces the likelihood of Guild politics playing a significant role. Of course, Arisen are so rare that a dozen NPC Mummies plus players probably makes the location one of the larger Nomes in the world. Global cults give you a "cheat" option though, where you can have Arisen not be physically present in the city at the beginning of the Chronicle, but be represented through human proxies for much of the game. That can pad out the numbers and play up the prominence of Guild politics without inflating the number of Arisen to unsustainable levels.


    • #3
      I'll admit that Mummy is the first game I feel more selective about for a Chronicle. My hometown of Austin is my preferred setting, but Mummy just doesn't give me the right feeling to have a Nome set there. Right now I'm considering somewhere like St. Louis or thereabouts. Somewhere in the Little Egypt part of the country.


      • #4
        What about Austin doesn't feel right to you, out of interest? I mean, I can certainly see the appeal of any region called "Little Egypt" just on face value

        My own plan for my next Mummy game (currently waiting to see if the second edition is any good) is to set it in outback Queensland (Australia), which I'm pretty excited for. Obviously the Nome will be very, very small, just player Mummies with no permanent NPC Arisen, living in a town where basically everyone is a cultist in service to the Arisen. I'm really excited for it. The seclusion and low population would allow the Arisen to live more or less openly, and while the area may lack any old monuments it more than makes up for it with history and the land itself.


        • #5
          hard to say. It isn't IMPOSSIBLE to run a mummy game here. I just don't get any inspiration to. Its like, that sense of adventure you get when you go around town populating locations with NPCs? "Oh yeah, that's the rough part of town. That's where the werewolves are." or whatever? Don't get any of that from Mummy. Trying to populate Austin with Guildhalls and so on feels like shoehorning them into the city.

          I dunno. There's a certain weight of history and Lovecraft asthetic I look for in a "mummy city". Austin just doesn't fit that bill in my mind. We got some interesting architecture and monuments, not the least being the Texas capital, but it doesn't exactly evoke the awe of the ancient world the way other places do. Austin also doesn't have a major antiquities business or artifact collection, which is a more practical problem. Our musuems aren't particularly grandiose or ambitious and certainly don't have Mummies on display. And there isn't much Egyptian revival architecture or spats of Egyptomania in our history. That last one is purely personal taste...I like something I can point to in my setting and blame on Sybaris.

          I dunno. Some cities lend themselves frighteningly well to this game. Paris, for instance, I find TOO intimidating to do justice because there are so many connections and ideas to ancient Egypt- a roman temple of isis built long ago, the Templars, Napoleon's invasion, etc. Then there are cities like Austin which don't offer much of a connection at all.


          • #6
            So what do you guys look for when you plot out the locations for your guildhalls and such?


            • #7
              Camouflage is always useful.